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Pronuncation

Nasal Vowels

Normally when a vowel or vowel combination is followed by the letters m or n, that vowel is nasalized. When this is the case the letters m or n are not pronounced; they serve only to mark the nasalization.

un bon vin blanc

a good white wine


The letter combinations ain, aim, eim, ein, in, im, ym, yn and ien all have the nasalized vowel sound [].

faim
train
bain
pain
main

  sainte
plainte
plein
enceinte
sain
 

vin
pin
prince
singe
syndicat

  simple
sympathique
thym
moins
poing
 

nasalized []
oral
certain
chien
le tien
ils viennent
cousin
  certaine
chienne
la tienne
il vient
cousine
 


The letter combination un is pronounced with the nasalized vowel [] .

brun
parfum
Verdun

  lundi
commun
 

nasalized
oral
un
aucun
  une
aucune
 


The letters an, en, and em are pronounced with the nasalized vowel []

dans
Jean
dent
vent
emporter
emmener
etudiante
enfant
danse
ils vendent
  ils mentent
elles chantent
constante
intelligente
lente
pendant
ingrédient
vient
viens
client
 


The letters on are pronounced with the nasalized vowel []

mon
pont
bon
  station
honte
monde
 
nasalized
oral
son
Simon
  sonne
Simone
 

The letters n or m following a vowel combination don't always signify a nasal sound. When the n or m that follows the vowel is the last letter in a word or if only a single consonant follows the m or n, the vowel is always nasalized.

banc
champ
quand
temps

  teint
plomb
sens
 

But if the m or n is followed by a mute e the vowel is not nasalized. The third person verb endings (-ent) are considered a mute e.

ils dînent
  fine  

If a vowel immediately follows the m or n and that vowel is not a mute e, the m or n is part of the syllable of this vowel and is therefore not nasal.

a/mi
a/nnée
     

The prefixes em and en are always nasal.

enamourer
  ennuyer  
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